During the height of the pandemic, Christian Beck was finishing his St. Xavier High School education from a secluded farm with his family. He strung up a hammock between two cedar trees one day and started writing songs.
He performed one of those songs during an audition on the 20th season of American Idol more than a year later.
Beck attended Holy Trinity School and is a 2020 graduate of St. Xavier.
He spent a few weeks last fall competing for a spot on the popular reality show. Though Beck didn’t make it onto the show, storytelling through music will always be part of his life, he said in a recent interview.
Beck always loved music and even played in a band, but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit that he found his songwriter’s voice.
His older sister Anna-Maria has lived with brain cancer since she was 7 years old. In order to protect her when the pandemic hit, the family moved to a farm outside of Louisville where they could live in isolation for a few months.
“We didn’t want to take any chances of getting Anna sick. During that time people had no idea how COVID would affect” those who were already battling an illness, Beck said. “I didn’t see anyone for a long time.”
Beck said he found solace in nature and in his faith. He realized, he said, that songwriting helped him to process what was happening around him.
“It was such a confusing time. I’d go out in the woods, string up a hammock and start playing my guitar. It was my way of making sense of what was happening with my family and the world,” he said.
At that time, his music also felt like a form of prayer and meditation. He felt like he “came in touch with God” through his music and nature.
“Faith is most important in times of uncertainty, when you don’t have anything else,” he said.
He wrote about 10 songs while he and his family were isolated on the farm.
But it was Beck’s cover of the song “Hurricane” by The Band Of Heathens that caught the attention of an American Idol producer via the TikTok platform. In September, Beck said he received a message via Instagram asking him to audition.
“I didn’t think it was real because it sounded too wild,” he said.
It was real, and a few weeks later he was flown to Los Angeles, where he performed one of his original songs, “Runnin,” in front of judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
The judges awarded him a golden ticket that led him to Hollywood, where he spent a week in December competing for a spot on the show.
His sister Anna-Maria waited outside the room where he auditioned, quietly supporting him.
Though he was later eliminated, auditioning with his sister there was a “really special moment that I will never forget. To have her there with me, after all we’d been through, was incredibly powerful,” he said.
Listen to his music on Tik-Tok at @christianbeckmusic and on Instagram at @_christian_beck.